Young Woman Parting a Curtain

The curtain motif links two worlds central to Vuillard’s life during the 1890s: his home environment and the theater. An abundance of patterned fabrics typically dominates his depictions of the house he shared with his mother and sister, both seamstresses. In this drawing, the woman with her hair in a chignon resembles Vuillard's sister and the piece of furniture behind her evokes a domestic setting; yet the scene also recalls a theater program Vuillard designed around the same time featuring a character emerging from behind a stage curtain.

Vuillard made this sketch on part of a larger sheet that, for over forty years, was folded and framed in such a way as to hide most of its surface—hence the darkening of the exposed section.

Édouard Vuillard
Young Woman Parting a Curtain, ca. 1893
Black chalk on light brown paper
Gift of Mary Jo and Sheldon Weinig; 2019.278
© Édouard Vuillard / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York